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Prospect Roundup: Games of June 14

Alvarez enjoys perfect day; Puk says farewell to Ports in style
Yordan Alvarez has seven homers and six doubles over 28 games since joining Class A Quad Cities. (Rich Guill/Quad Cities River Bandits)
June 15, 2017

Braves 2B Ozzie Albies, Triple-A Gwinnett: 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, R, 2 K, 2 SB -- The Braves' top prospect missed eight days with a bruised foot, but hasn't lost a step since his return Tuesday. The 20-year-old switch-hitter went 2-for-5 with a triple and a double in his first game back

Braves 2B Ozzie Albies, Triple-A Gwinnett: 3-for-5, 2B, RBI, R, 2 K, 2 SB -- The Braves' top prospect missed eight days with a bruised foot, but hasn't lost a step since his return Tuesday. The 20-year-old switch-hitter went 2-for-5 with a triple and a double in his first game back and collected three more hits and two steals in a 5-4 win at Toledo on Wednesday. The thefts pushed him into the International League lead with 17, just ahead of former Braves prospect Mallex Smith and his 16 for Durham. With this latest run, he's also pushed his season OPS to .737, its highest since May 17. With a 103 wRC+ over 56 games, it hasn't been a dominant season at the Minors' highest level for Albies, but it's an improvement over his 89 wRC+ in the same amount of games last season for Gwinnett. Plus, as good a hitter as he can be,'s No. 7 overall prospect also provides value with his speed and glovework in the middle of the infield. With Brandon Phillips handling things at the keystone for the Braves, the organization doesn't need to push Albies to the Majors just yet, and the hope is he'll get hot enough to force the issue as the season comes up on the second half.

Athletics LHP A.J. Puk, Class A Advanced Stockton: 6 2/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 98 pitches, 67 strikes -- It's been quite a week for the A's No. 2 prospect. Puk was named a California League All-Star on Tuesday and dominated Wednesday, reaching double digits in strikeouts for the second time in three starts. On Thursday, he was promoted to Double-A Midland, and the 22-year-old left-hander has certainly earned it. His 38.6 percent strikeout rate and 2.10 FIP over 61 innings are best among qualified Minor League pitchers. The former certainly feeds into the latter, but the FIP is even more astonishing because it's a stat that factors in home runs -- and it's unusual for a Cal League pitcher to limit home runs like Puk has (just one allowed in 14 appearances). Puk has the plus-plus fastball and impressive slider to make lower-level bats miss, and he's done a better job with his control of late, allowing only three walks over his last three starts (13 1/3 innings). There will be tests to come in the Texas League, but there's no doubt Puk left a lasting impression in the Golden State.
Dodgers OF DJ Peters, Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga: 2-for-4, HR, 3B, 4 RBI, R, BB -- This was the type of performance the Dodgers love to see out of their No. 18 prospect. He tapped into his above-average power with a homer and a triple. He took a walk. And he did it all while not striking out. Listed at 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Peters has the size to drive the ball, and he's done a good job of that with 11 homers in 62 games and a .226 isolated slugging percentage that ranks third in the Cal League. But that size also leads to a big strike zone, and with Peters perhaps getting too aggressive at times, he's also fanned 35.1 percent of the time for a strikeout rate that's fourth-highest on the Class A Advanced circuit. If Peters can learn to make more contact, impressive performances like this should continue to roll in.
Cardinals RHP Ryan Helsley, Class A Advanced Palm Beach: 6 2/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K, 91 pitches, 64 strikes -- The Cardinals' No. 30 prospect had a stretch of three scoreless starts broken up last Friday when he allowed four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings at Daytona. On Wednesday, he got right back on the horse, outpitching No. 16 Blue Jays prospect Ryan Borucki in a 1-0 win over Dunedin. Helsley is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA, 34 strikeouts and seven walks over his last five starts (30 innings). The 2015 fifth-round pick was a breakout star in 2016 for Class A Peoria, where he had a 1.61 ERA with 109 strikeouts and only 19 walks in 95 frames. The only thing keeping him from being ranked higher in the Cards' system is the fact that only his fastball, which sits in the mid-90s, earned an above-average grade from last offseason. With the way he's beginning to find results again, he should be able to climb higher in his second full season.
Astros 1B/OF/DH Yordan Alvarez, Class A Quad Cities: 3-for-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 IBB -- Alvarez singled in the first inning, drove in two with a base hit in the second and led off the fifth with a home run. By the time he walked to the plate for the final time in the sixth, the Cedar Rapids Kernels decided they'd seen enough and intentionally walked him with runners on the corners to load the bases. Can anyone blame them? The Astros' No. 14 prospect has been on a tear in his first stateside season, hitting .371/.471/.649 with seven homers in 28 games since joining Quad Cities on May 15. In the month since he moved to the Midwest League, no one in Class A has posted an OPS higher than his 1.120 -- not even Lansing breakout star Bo Bichette, who places second at 1.116. The Cuba native, whom the Astros acquired from the Dodgers for right-handed pitcher Josh Fields before he even made his Minor League debut, doesn't really have a set position as the River Bandits rotate him between first base, left field and DH. But one thing's for sure, the 19-year-old left-handed slugger's bat plays, and needs to be in the lineup every day.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.